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Ina and Jeffrey Garten: A Love Story of Over 50 Years

A lot of people know about Ina Garten, the host of the Barefoot Contessa TV show. But what do we know about her personal life? The author and TV host, for instance, has been married for over 50 years to Jeffrey E. Garten. That's pretty impressive! So, who's the man behind the Food Network star?

Jeffrey Garten

Jeffrey was born in 1946 to a Jewish family. He met Ina when she was just 15 years old and visiting her brother at Dartmouth College, where Jeffrey earned his A.B. before he went on to get an M.A. in 1972 and a Ph.D. in 1980 from the Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.

The couple got married in Stamford, Connecticut in 1968, and Jeffrey served in the United States Army from 1968 to 1972. He held the rank of Lieutenant in the 82nd Airborne Division as well as Captain and aide-de-camp to the commanding general of the US Special Forces, Wikipedia notes.

During his time in Vietnam, Ina got interested in cooking. After her husband Jeffrey completed his military tour, the duo went to Paris, France for a long vacation, where Ina first fell in love with French cuisine. When it comes to her cooking career, the rest is history!

Jeffrey Garten After the Army

Jeffrey went on to work in the Nixon, Ford, and Carter administrations. When the couple moved to Washington, D.C., Ina got more interested in cooking and entertaining but also worked in the White House while earning an MBA at George Washington University.

She became a budget analyst and did work for presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, so even as she entertained and worked on cooking for Jeffrey, Ina was very active outside their home.

Later Life Together

The couple eventually relocated to New York so Ina could operate the Barefoot Contessa food store and Jeffrey could go to work at Wall Street. He became a managing director of Lehman Brothers and the Blackstone Group, lived in Tokyo, Japan for a bit, and eventually became the Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade in the Clinton administration, managing global catastrophes in trade. He focused on trade, investment, and global finance deals in China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, and Turkey.

All the while, Ina continued to build her brand, eventually going on to write cookbooks. Jeffrey continued his academic and professional work, becoming dean of the Yale School of Management for a number of years before he and a colleague, David Rothkopf, set up Garten Rothkopf.

He is currently Dean Emeritus at the Yale School of Management, where he teaches classes on the global economy. He's been a director at Aetna, CarMax, Inc., and other places, all while Ina continued her own successful career.

Ina has won several Emmy awards and written ten cookbooks, some of which ended up on The New York Times bestsellers list. Meanwhile, her husband is a writer too, having completed five books and articles in publications like Newsweek, Foreign Affairs, and Harvard Business Review. Jeffrey has even written books such as The Big Ten: The Big Emerging Markets And How They Will Change Our Lives, From Silk to Silicon: The Story of Globalization Through Ten Extraordinary Lives, The Politics of Fortune: A New Agenda for Business Leaders, A Cold Peace: America, Japan, Germany, and the Struggle for Supremacy, and the Mind of the CEO. He regularly interacts with Business Week and the Wall Street Journal, with a monthly column in Business Week.

Leading a global company is pretty tiring, but fortunately they have each other. Today, the couple lives in Southport, Connecticut, and East Hampton, New York City. They've been married 52 years, and still seem to be going strong!